Mets Get A Center Fielder (Kinda)

The Mets welcomed one center fielder and said goodbye to another this weekend.

Juan Lagares, who is tearing it up in the Caribbean World Series right now, signed a deal with the Anaheim Angels on Saturday.

Lagares did not record an at bat with the Mets in 2020, so we can’t really say that he was replaced by the center fielder they signed Sunday.

Albert Almora Jr.

The Mets’ agreement with Almora is pending a successful physical.

The outfielder was the Cubs’ first round pick (sixth overall) in 2012, and is a glove only first option.

What’s interesting about this move is that it was reported that the Mets were still in talks with Jackie Bradley Jr. after the signing.

So, here’s what I think this means…

If there IS a DH in 2021, the Mets will get aggressive with Bradley Jr. and if signed, he would be the everyday center fielder, splitting time with Almora.  Brandon Nimmo would move to left field, Dominic Smith would take over first base and Pete Alonso would be the designated hitter. (Best possible outcome. )

If there is NO DH in 2021, Brandon Nimmo would be the everyday center fielder and Almora would get spot starts and be a late inning defensive replacement.

I don’t want to turn this into a DH discussion, but the first scenario would improve our team defense immeasurably. Bradley Jr. and Almora in center field would be fantastic. Obviously, Nimmo in left and Smith at first base would be ideal. To say the least.

Again, this is mostly speculation on my part, but I think the DH decision may ultimately decide J.D. Davis‘ fate.

Defense was never priority number one here under Sandy Alderson. Whether that was due to budgetary constraints or his general philosophy, we may never know. But I can’t imagine he would want Davis as his everyday third baseman if Nimmo is in center flanked by Smith in left.

But anyways… Back to Almora.

If you look at this as an alternative move to George Springer you’re going to be upset. He’s decent against lefties and is a strong defender. That’s all.  Fourth outfielder.

He doesn’t get on base (career .309 OBP) and he doesn’t steal bases. His offensive numbers across the board are trending downward since 2017 which was his best season.

If you look at this as purely a depth move you may feel better about it. He’s 26 and was a highly touted prospect so it’s possible his story isn’t completely written. (Take a look at who he was drafted ahead of in 2012. Unless you’re a Cubs fan. Don’t torture yourself. )

Albert Almora Jr. Guillermo Heredia. Mallex Smith.

These are 3 players in their mid 20s with upside. Sure, at this point, they are fourth outfielders at best. But we didn’t trade prospects for them. If they need to play, in a pinch, they could potentially surprise us.

Verdict?

The move is fine. Depth is good. I wouldn’t read any further into it than that.

I don’t feel like this roster is finalized. Not by a long shot. I’d wager this is a depth signing with far bigger moves on the horizon.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

 

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